Grace Baptist Church of Danville
August 15, 2010
We should be as lenient as possible in our thoughts concerning the sins, failures, and doctrinal errors of our brethren.
Though Lord of Heaven, He Stooped to Earth — Don Fortner
(Tune: #46 — O for A Thousand Tongues — CM)
1. In JesusŐ condescending love,
Glory and grace appear; —
Though rich He left the realms above,
To be a Servant here.
2. Though Lord of heavŐn, He stooped to earth,
To do His FatherŐs will;
Despised and poor He was from his birth,
Yet Lord of glory still!
He, as a Servant, bore,
That His elect might live and reign,
With Him forevermore.
4. He did the work none else could do,
Then He resumed His throne,
Still keeping His designs in view, —
And gathŐring in His own!
LetŐs Make Some Rules
We all love rules and regulations, rules and regulations by which we can govern the lives of other people. Frequently, I receive requests from young churches asking that I help them write a church constitution, church by-laws, or church covenant. When I ask why they desire to do so, few are able to answer. Those who do generally say something like, ŇWe want to be prepared for situations requiring discipline.Ó My response is, ŇWhy donŐt you wait until you have a problem before creating a rule to handle it? I promise you, if you make a rule you will find an excuse to use it.Ó I cannot find any rules in the New Testament by which we are to govern others, no rules requiring a plurality of elders or deacons in a local church. Rather, when the need arose, God supplied the need. Until a need arises, we are foolish to make a rule to govern it.
The PastorŐs Work — 1 Timothy 4:13-16
What is a pastor supposed to do? What is the work of the ministry? What is involved in the work of preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? Those questions should be of great concern to us all, because, to a greater or lesser degree, they affect us all. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ today is suffering greatly because very few pastors are performing that work which is plainly described in the New Testament as the work of the ministry. Most churches place so many demands on a pastor that he cannot effectively give himself to the work of the ministry, if he does what his congregation expects him to do. The pastor is expected to make regular, daily rounds at the hospital to visit the sick. He is supposed to visit the members of his congregation, especially the elderly, on a regular basis. And he is expected to visit people in the community, trying to persuade them to come to his church. Some churches even expect the pastor to be the custodian of the church property.
If you read the sixth chapter of Acts, you will see that all of these things are works which should be performed by the church deacons. Deacons are men whose work it is to serve GodŐs church by serving their pastor, relieving him of every responsibility and care except the preaching of the gospel of Christ. In reality the New Testament tells us three things that every pastor is supposed to do. He must give himself constantly to these three things.
The pastor must give himself to prayer. In order to minister to the hearts of men, the pastor must prepare his own heart before God. In prayer he makes intercession to God for his congregation and seeks the conversion of sinners. In prayer the pastor seeks a message from God to deliver to the people of God. Prayer is the key which GodŐs servant uses to unlock the treasury chest of Holy Scripture. No man can preach well who does not pray well. The power of the pulpit is prayer.
The pastor must give himself continually to study. He must Ňgive attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.Ó The pastorŐs place is in his study. Every man who is called of God to the work of the gospel ministry will be a diligent and faithful student of Holy Scripture. It is not needful that a pastor be a seminary graduate. But it is absolutely essential that he be a student. It is not possible for a pastor to preach well unless he is a good, diligent student. Every sermon should be fresh, full of instruction for the people of God, and edifying to the souls of men.
Today, as a general rule, sermons are shallow and empty. They are mere repetitions of the same empty words from week to week. The people of God come to the house of God hungry for a word from God; but they go away empty. There is a reason for this: — The pastor does not study. In particular the pastor is to study the Word of God, meditating upon the doctrine revealed in it, so that he can proclaim those old gospel truths in a plain, fresh, and appealing way.
The pastor must be a preacher. First and foremost, the work of the gospel ministry is preaching, preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If a man is called of God to the work of the gospel ministry, he is gifted by God to preach the gospel. Pastoral work is not done in counselling sessions, hospital rooms, and community socials. Pastoral work is done in the closet, in the study, and in the pulpit.
If the pastor spends his week preparing his heart by prayer and preparing his mind by study, when it comes time to preach he will have something to say. He will feed the LordŐs sheep with knowledge and understanding. And those who hear him will profit by what he says.
If you desire to know more about the work of the ministry and how you can best assist GodŐs servant as he ministers to you, read and carefully study the books of 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus. Those three books were written by the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit for the specific purpose of helping GodŐs people to understand the work of the ministry.
ŇPastors According to Mine HeartÓ
God promised that he would give his church pastors according to his own heart. That means he will give his church pastors as he sees fit and pastors who will serve the good of those people he so dearly loves. Those men God gives to his church as pastors, according to his own heart, Ňshall feed you with knowledge and understanding.Ó Here are three things that will characterize every God called, Spirit-anointed, heavenly-ordained pastor.
Every true pastor is a faithful man. Without question, if a man is called of God to the work of the gospel ministry, he will be faithful in the work. His life and conduct will reflect his steadfastness, commitment and faithfulness to Christ. He will faithfully seek the glory of God, study and prepare to preach the Word of God, seek the welfare of GodŐs people and preach the gospel of Christ. He will be faithful to Christ, to the Word of God, to the church and to his own conscience. No man should be set apart for the gospel ministry until he has proved himself to be a faithful man (2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Corinthians 4:2).
Every true, faithful servant of God is also a fallible, sinful man. The apostles and prophets of old were themselves only frail, fallible, sinful men. They were infallible in the writing of Holy Scripture, as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. But they were not perfect men. Moses smote the rock in anger. Peter cursed and denied the Lord. All the apostles forsook Christ for a while. Paul and Barnabas had a terrible fight over John Mark. And you can be sure every pastor will have many faults. Those who want to find fault with any can easily do so.
Yet, every true pastor is GodŐs ambassador, GodŐs servant, GodŐs messenger. He is to be loved, cared for, respected and obeyed as GodŐs representative in his church. I often hear people say, ŇI do not follow any man.Ó If you follow God, you will follow that man who speaks for God. You will not err by following a faithful pastor. God commands you to do so!
August 15, 2010
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
2734 Old Stanford Road-Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Telephone (859) 236-8235 - E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor
Schedule of Regular Services
10:00 A.M. Bible Classes
10:30 A.M. Morning Worship Service
6:30 P.M. Evening Worship Service
7:30 P.M. Mid-Week Worship Service
Television Broadcasts in Danville
Channel 6 - Sunday Morning 8:00 A.M.
Channel 6 - Wednesday Evening 6:00 P.M.
Channel 6 - Friday Evening 7:00 P.M.
Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com